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Airlink Acquires Four Avro RJ85’s From BAE Systems: Extends Leases on Two Jetstream 41’s


Hatfield, Herts, UK. - BAE Systems announced today that Airlink, one of South Africa’s regional feeder airlines, has agreed to acquire four Avro RJ85 regional jets. At the same time the airline has also extended the leases on two Jetstream 41 turboprop aircraft.

Airlink currently operates a fleet of four RJ85s alongside four BAe 146-200s and these latest RJ85s are being planned as replacements for the BAe 146s. The resulting fleet commonality is expected to generate operational and cost benefits for Airlink. The RJ85s are scheduled to be delivered between September 2010 and January 2011. Each BAe 146-200 will be returned to BAE Systems upon delivery of each RJ85.

The Airlink fleet of eight BAe 146/Avro RJ aircraft has been successfully supported by the BAE Systems Regional Aircraft JetSpares support programme since entering into service in 2007. The newly delivered RJ85s will also be fully enrolled onto JetSpares, which provides extensive on-site and pool stock rotable spares coverage.

Airlink’s lease extension of the two Jetstream 41s, which had been scheduled to return to BAE Systems later this year, means that these aircraft will now continue to remain in service alongside the airline’s additional fleet of 12 Jetstream 41s.

Johannesburg-based Airlink is a long-standing customer of BAE Systems Regional Aircraft, currently operating 14 Jetstream 41s alongside their BAe 146 / Avro RJ fleet and eight Embraer ERJ135s. Announcing these transactions today, Paul Stirling, Executive Vice President Asset Management of BAE Systems Regional Aircraft said: “Airlink’s acquisition of additional RJ85 aircraft further strengthens our relationship with one of our key customers. Their commitment to the aircraft is testimony to its continued economic competitiveness and demonstrates that the performance of the aircraft delivers significant benefits for our customers today and into the future.”

Mr Rodger Foster, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Airlink said today ”We derive real value from our relationship with BAE Systems Regional Aircraft and we are delighted to have been able to agree terms with them to further develop our fleet for the benefit of our customers. We also see growing demand for the BAe 146 and Avro RJ class of aircraft in Southern Africa and we look forward to working with BAE Systems in the region.”

Airlink is a South African Airways alliance partner and currently operates more than 3,500 flights, carrying about 65,000 passengers per month of which 70 percent are business travellers. It provides vital feeder services connecting smaller South African centres with the major hubs at Johannesburg and Cape Town Africa. Airlink also serves more than 20 South African destinations, together with a number of regional international cities in neighbouring countries.

About BAE Systems

BAE Systems is a global defence, security and aerospace company with approximately 107,000 employees worldwide. The Company delivers a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions and customer support services. In 2009 BAE Systems reported sales of £22.4 billion (US$ 36.2 billion).


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